Palestine Update 89
A comment on India’s decision to scrap a military deal with Israel
Campaigners for a boycott of Indo-Israeli military ties have something major to celebrate. The Indian Ministry of Defense scrapped a $500M deal with Israeli arms manufacturer Rafael Advanced Defense Systems for its missile systems. Years in the making, the deal was finalized after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Israel in July. A facility in Hyderabad to manufacture the missile systems was even opened up. To the pleasant surprise of BDS campaigners, the deal was cancelled after India’s state-run Defense Research Development rejected this Israeli technology. Whether the decision to call of the deal is about lack of quality in Israel’s technology is not the issue at stake. It was worrisome to many that the deal would fuel Israel’s military industry, which is severely caught up in war crimes against the Palestinian people. It blows apart the myth that Israel’s technology is crucial for India’s development and modernization. Activists are asking why Israel is selling inappropriate and poor grade military and agricultural technologies in India thereby creating needless reliance on Israel. This decision breaks a trend. It says: India will not fund your apartheid regime. Omar Barghouti, co-founder of the BNC said: “We hope this is the beginning of the end of Indian complicity in Israel’s egregious violation of international law and Palestinian human rights. As Palestinians we ask the Indian people to maintain their proud legacy of commitment to independence, to growing local knowledge and to respecting other people’s struggles for self-determination”. We hope this will be the case.
We bring to your attention a valuable video from the BDS campaign: Omar Barghouti on BDS: How Effective Is It? Please view and disseminate widely.
India Scraps $500M Military Deal with Israel amid rising popular concern about India’s complicity with Israeli crimes
Yesterday, media reported that the Indian Ministry of Defense scrapped the $500M deal with Israeli arms manufacturer Rafael Advanced Defense Systems for its missile systems. Years in the making, the deal had been celebrated in international media and was finalized after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Israel in July. In August, Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and its Indian partner Kalyani Strategic Systems opened a facility in Hyderabad to manufacture the missile systems. The deal was cancelled after India’s state-run Defense Research Development Organisation asserted that India should not import this Israeli technology.
Jamal Juma’, coordinator of the Palestinian Stop the Wall Campaign and BNC secretariat member said: “India’s decision to scrap this massive arms deal with Israel is a huge blow to the Israeli weapons industry. This $500 million deal would have fueled Israel’s military industry, which is deeply implicated in war crimes against the Palestinian people. It is also a major setback for Israel’s propaganda hubris that its technology is indispensable for India’s development and modernization. As many Indians are recognizing, Israel is marketing military and agricultural technologies in India and trying to cement Indian dependence on Israel. Israel seeks a flow of Indian cash for its own profit and to help finance its criminal wars and apartheid regime”.
India is by far the globe’s biggest importer of Israeli weapons and Israel is enjoying almost unparalleled influence in the Indian military system. Israel is equipping the Indian army with Israeli guns, the Indian air force and navy with Israeli airplanes and missiles, and is also providing communication systems and technology in all levels of the Indian military.
Over the last two decades, Indo-Israeli military relations have continuously increased despite various corruption scandals and technical failures. Similar patterns have started to surface in other sectors as well. India’s 16 million-strong farmer’s union AIKS has endorsed the Palestinian call for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) “in order to stand for the rights of the Palestinian people and to resist the corporate takeover of Indian agriculture sector by Israeli companies.” Members of Telengana’s state assembly last week denounced state-sponsored trips of Indian farmers to Israel as “wastage of money.”
Omar Barghouti, co-founder of the BNC said: “We hope this is the beginning of the end of Indian complicity in Israel’s egregious violation of international law and Palestinian human rights. As Palestinians we ask the Indian people to maintain their proud legacy of commitment to independence, to growing local knowledge and to respecting other people’s struggles for self-determination.
Israel’s regime of oppression can never be a model for the great Indian nation that once led the non-aligned movement and upheld the right of all nations to self determination and freedom. Israel exports to India what it knows best — technology that represses militarizes and dispossesses people of their land and water rights. India is better off without that.
Last week it was announced that Indian Oil and Natural Gas Corporations are bidding for drilling rights in gas fields claimed by Israel, despite the many controversies linked to territorial disputes in such fields. In August, India’s Adventz group signed aMemorandum of Understanding to develop Israel’s Jerusalem Light Rail, which serves Israel’s settlements in and around occupied East Jerusalem in violation of international law.
Omar Barghouti said: “As large multinationals increasingly abandon their illegal projects in Israel due to effective BDS pressure, Israel has started dragging India into deals fraught with legal and political problems. Indian companies would be well advised to avoid getting sucked into Israel’s human rights violations as more and more international corporations refuse to get involved in such complicity”.
The Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) is the largest coalition in Palestinian civil society. It leads and supports the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement for Palestinian rights.
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